It’s daunting to realize how long I’ve been writing about film history and how many fascinating people I’ve gotten to interview. When the folks at boutique publisher GoodKnight Books asked if I had any material for an anthology I realized I did: a number of interviews from Film Fan Monthly, which I started editing and publishing when I was 15, as well as interviews and research stories from my more recent publishing venture Leonard Maltin’s Movie Crazy. None of this had ever been collected in book form before. The result: Hooked on Hollywood: Discoveries from a Lifetime of Film Fandom, just published today!
It’s been four years since my last book, the final edition of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, and I am genuinely excited about this new venture—in part because I’m working with publishers Robert and Mary Matzen, who treat each project with tender loving care, and because every word in this book is mine. It’s my “baby,” and I couldn’t be prouder.
I’ve written new introductions to each section to put them into context. “Early Interviews” tells how I came to talk to such luminaries as Burgess Meredith, Anita Loos, Madge Evans, Henry Wilcoxon, Joan Blondell, and George O’Brien when I was just a kid. Imagine sitting in a coffee shop talking about Sunrise with its star more than forty years after the movie was made, or chatting with the woman who wrote screenplays for D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks when she was still a teenager herself.
Decades later I created a newsletter where I could write about anything that caught my fancy—from the genesis of Busby Berkeley’s Depression anthem “Remember my Forgotten Man” from Gold Diggers of 1933 to the striking number of songs heard on the soundtrack of Casablanca—not just “A Time Goes By.” Digging through production files and talking to experts in their field is my idea of fun. A website is a wonderful creative outlet, but there’s nothing like holding a publication in your hand. That’s why I’m so glad Hooked on Hollywood has come to fruition, in a good-looking, hefty paperback edition. You can purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, even at brick-and-mortar bookstores from coast to coast. (What a concept!)
I hope you enjoy it. The book represents a lifetime of experiences, which I am delighted to share with fellow film buffs of all ages.